By: Michael Beiter
Deb is 59 years old. She is a nurse and has been in the industry for nearly 3 decades.
She started focusing on her health this year and hired me to help with her nutrition.
One of the biggest challenges has been finding time for her to grocery shop, cook, and exercise.
Deb is the only manager at her hospital who is expected to cover whenever asked. She is the sole member of a team of managers who clocked a 90 hour work week this year in response to the lack of help due to Covid impacts.
As a mother, wife, and career nurse this woman has more than internalized the ethic 'put others before yourself.'
Recently she started fighting back against the constant self sacrifice.
"I'm tired and burnt out. I was met with resistance when I rejected the offer for overtime work."
I asked her how she most effectively changed her behavior of constantly saying yes even when it leads to her lack of self care.
Her response was that she scheduled a yoga session - for most people, what gets scheduled gets done. Deb is no different here and because she had a previous commitment she didn't feel obliged to sell her free time to her employer when asked.
"I feel bad saying no to over time or covering a shift just because I don't want to. If I'm not doing anything anyways I might as well work."
We practiced saying "No, I have other plans" or "Sorry, I have previous commitments."
In all honesty, a firm "No" is plenty. But for those who feel the need to provide a reason for not doing more than you have to it is enough to stop at saying you have other stuff going on.
In regards to "doing nothing so I might as well work." Avoid devaluing your hobbies and favorite leisure activities by calling them 'nothing.'
Are you really doing nothing after work? Or are you driving home listening to your favorite music, embracing your dogs and family when you get inside, opening your fridge full of nourishment and putting together a healthy dinner you will enjoy with wine you love before relaxing into your couch for a couple episodes of your show.
The amount of things we classify as 'nothing' has grown to epic proportions mostly because if something doesn't make money we don't think of it as worth mentioning or as valuable as saying "I'm working this job for this many hours before going home and side hustling for this many" Try to avoid this trap.
Be specific when asked what you're doing and you'll find you are never doing nothing. Even at your least active you are sitting, laying, or thinking. Nothing is not something a person is capable of doing. You belittle yourself when you admit do doing nothing and agree to things you wouldn't otherwise.
Deb has been working on putting herself first and as a result has lost 6.5 pounds in the last 8 weeks, 21 since March.